Hanging out with MEP Doris Pack

Three weeks ago, AEGEE was invited to a pilot experience coming from the European Parliament. For the first time, a Member of the European Parliament would establish a dialogue with some stakeholders in the youth field through HangOut, a recently launched platform that allows up to 10 people to interact in a videoconference which can be also recorded and streamed to include more participants.

The MEP behind this initiative was very relevant: Doris Pack has been rapporteur of the Culture and Education Committee in the European Parliament (CULT) for the whole process of the redesign of the Youth and Education programme in the next Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-17. The topic of the conference was The Future of the Erasmus Programme.

The conference took place on June 25th and, as the headoffice of AEGEE was flying back from the Zagreb Youth Conference to celebrate the entry of Croatia in the EU, we appointed Madalena Sousa as our representative in the HangOut. We prepared several questions in advance for the session, but in the end it was quite short and as there were several other International NGOs invited, unfortunately we could not ask all our questions.

The conference was recorded and uploaded. You can watch it here.

In the opinion of Madalena, this option for interaction is complementary to the Structured Dialogue, which guarantees that “the voices of young people in Europe reach the decision-making process in areas that directly affect them”. In this sense, the Google Hangout seems to be “an easy instrument to establish communication among stakeholders, where everyone can participate online and place questions. It is an online dialogue, with some guests that can address direct questions to the MEP, but at the same time there is place for people following online to also make comments/messages/questions”. The staff from the European Parliament was in charge of collecting questions from the public who followed the streaming and engaged in Twitter, Facebook or Google+, which were also answered by Ms. Doris Pack.

Madalena stated her satisfaction with this “opportunity to represent AEGEE, to deal with a new tool and to contribute for this close contact between stakeholders. Definitely I think that AEGEE should always be involved and participating on events that promote discussion with stakeholders. Online or not, with more or less time, the important thing is to grab the opportunity to share our concerns or place our questions.”

The conversation touched several topics like sustainability of the new framework, the future of some of the different programmes included in Erasmus+, the convenience of having such a big programme when so many people are unemployed and could benefit from this money being invested in them… but the best way to know more is to watch the video.

The other participating stakeholders were: Erasmus Student Network (ESN), Erasmus Generation Network (Garagerasmus), Fraternité 2020, European Civil Platform on Life Long Learning (EUCIS-LLL), European Youth Forum (YFJ), Erasmus Mundus Alumni (EMA), and Cronoworld.

Adapted from our post in Euractiv blog Key to Europe.